Sam Allardyce admitted West Ham almost fluffed their lines before skipper Kevin Nolan inspired the Hammers to a 3-1 victory over Derby to reduce Southampton's lead at the top of the npower Championship table to two points.

Tamas Priskin celebrated his loan switch from Ipswich by firing the Rams ahead on 34 minutes but Carlton Cole levelled and Kevin Nolan crashed home a volley after the break. Mark Noble's 74th minute penalty finally made the game safe but Allardyce accepted the pressure to capitalise on Southampton's slip-up contributed to a first half wobble.

Allardyce said: "We weren't very good today, there's no doubt about that. I think the players saw the Southampton result and that plus the 4-4-2 formation I picked affected them."We changed to a 4-3-3 after the break and everyone saw the best of our players after that."

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